About Me

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I placed my daughter in an open adoption in 2002. I started this blog in 2004 as a place to journal and eventually I became part of a community. The community has moved on, but I have decided to come back.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Depression

This should be available everywhere. So well-done. No I won't tell you what it is. Just go read it.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I'm Linking

I've recently updated my links, but today I had to add Baggage That Goes With Mine. I'm writing a post about it because I really love this blog and it seems like baggage is sort of in the background sometimes.

I remember reading her way back when I first discovered all the other adoption-related blogs out there and then she sort of fell of my radar for awhile. Well, she commented here and I rediscovered her and because I use my links bar to catch up on my required reading, I figured it was about time I stuck baggage in there.

Besides, anyone who uses such a great line from Rent as a blog title and talks about singing musical numbers around the house is good in my book. So anyway, go read her sometime.

Go Read Someone Else's Blog Today

Life in the Statue home is currently centered on the first day of school Monday. It always is a little weird to have school starting at the same time as my daughter's birthday but I find it is generally a distraction.

Anyway, the last few weeks of blogging have resulted in lots of deep, interesting, and honest blogging from everyone.

I haven't commented because I'm at a loss for words and really the posts speak for themselves.

So head over to read Nicole's two recent posts, Kateri's response, and Dawn's ruminations on what is out there. They are all beautifully written and eye opening.

Reading some of this stuff and the last few weeks of chatter on other blogs has reminded me of what led me here in the first place. Like many of you, my first few months as a birthmother were spent on the forums (I don't think I need to say which ones) and I became so horrified and disheartened by all the angriness and fighting and insensitivity. Some of the reading in blogland has reminded me of that. In my little haven here surrounded by so many really wonderful triad members, I had almost forgotten that people like that still existed.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I Had to Make A Choice Today

This is not the first time that this has come up for me and I think I've decided that it may be the most frequent anxiety-producing adoption issue for me.

Do you have children?

We've spent the last two days in orientation for the new school year. We lost about half of our staff last year. The principal is really making an effort to make our school a more positive place to work. The new staff and the returning staff also seem committed to this goal so the whole two days have been very positive and warm and friendly.

We did an icebreaker today. It may be familiar to some of you- everyone gets a grid with a bunch of different getting to know you items and you go around and find people that fit the descriptions- someone different for each box (has a car; has 2 or more siblings; can speak another language; is a vegetarian; and so on). One of the boxes was "has children." It was made into a competition so that whoever filled the most boxes got a prize and to make it more of a team-building activity, when we were all done getting our names, the principal read off the description in the box and had everyone who fit stand up.

We had a break between the name-getting and the revealing and I spent it trying to decide if I was going to stand up for the "has children" part. There are two people at my job that know. Nobody else does. I made that choice partly because I lost my last job due to my decision to place and partly because of the type of job I have. I don't just work with a few people or just adults or any other situation that might make the burden less. I work in a school. That means that not only would I be coming out to my 60 coworkers, but quite possibly to every parent and student who will be associated with my school during my employment. Every year I will open myself up to judgment. Every year I would make myself vulnerable and I would make my school vulnerable. I don't really want the principal to have to field parent questions and concerns about my birthmother status. It's possible nothing would happen- that there would be no negativity. I wonder if I am exaggerating the possible repurcussions. Maybe nobody would think about it. Still I can't help imagining that one parent who characterizes me as someone who is cold enough to give away my own flesh and blood and questions my ability to care about the kids in my classroom. I can't help but think about the coworkers who might whisper behind my back or make jokes or even simply question the openness of my adoption.

Still I was so tempted today to finally come clean. I could educate people. I could be a voice. They would give me a warm reception. I hate denying her.

My principal read that category and I felt that familiar ache in my stomach. I stayed seated. I lowered my head. I looked around wondering if anyone would even notice eitheer way. And I felt ashamed- for a million reasons I felt ashamed.

For the next two hours it weighed on my mind. Worse, I realized that there was no one to talk about it with. I thought about those two people who knew and realized that I wouldn't even feel comfortable telling them about how that question made me feel.

I imagined standing. I imagined someone noticing. I envisioned myself stepping up to come clean about it all right there to everyone all at once. I realized that if I had stood and couldn't tell the whole story right there that I wouldn't have been able to handle the one or two or more people who may have noticed and then asked. I could have stood up and told them all at once and maybe held back the tears, but I couldn't have handled telling one by one.

I regretted not standing. I felt like a liar. I felt the burning shame of having a secret- of realizing there is this important thing in my life that it isn't safe to share. How can it not be safe to share that you have a child? How can it be that something that is so bonding for everyone else- the picture and milestone sharing- is a source of anxiety for me? Why is it like that? Why can't I even confess to the people that know, how painful that decision was for me?

For hours I rolled around the possibilities and felt that disappointment in myself and felt that burden we place on birthmothers: stay silent.... or at least if you do speak, don't speak about the pain. You made your choice. Deal with it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop making it so much bigger than it is. Stop being so negative. Stop taking away all the joy. What a favor they are doing for you. How nice of them to let you see her. If you gave away your child, how can you possibly care about her? You need to move on. It isn't all about you. You're not really a mother. You're not like the rest of us. You're a sinner. You must be a slut. You were irresponsible. You passed on your burden to someone else. You were selfish not to raise her.

Yes, I felt all that shame today. And I didn't speak.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I Feel Good

It was a good day.

My head was so full last night because I had so many things to think about. I've been very reflective lately. There are so many good things in my life right now and I really hope it's real this time.

The visit was relaxed. My daughter did a lot of solo playing but she didn't have the moodiness of the last visit. It felt comfortable. She's an amazing little swimmer and I witnessed some math skills that reminded me of a post I read recently about someone's child doing math (it involved potty training....if you are that blog can you please comment because I loved that post but can't remember where I read it). She got into her town's Pre-K program which means my little girl is going to be starting school. Yikes!!!!

When I first arrived, she gave me an animal she made in daycare and some tomatoes from her garden. She looked so proud and happy to be presenting those to me.

In the afternoon, we finally got some one on one time. We went swimming together. We did all sorts of things. She showed off her new skills and we danced in the water and I spun her around. As I held her close to spin her around in the water, she surprised me with some questions.

"Are you going to grow any more babies?"
"Did I grow in your tummy?"
"Did I come out of your tummy?"
"I wasn't as big as I am now, was I?"

My answers satisfied her and I was unable to figure out what brought it on.

When we returned to land, she smiled at me and said "That was fun in the pool."

We got ready to go and I again helped her dress and brushed her hair. It was so nice to be close to her.

She was being shy about pictures again so I didn't get many.

Surprisingly, her mom grabbed my camera to snap some pictures of us playing in the pool. I was so happy for that though we still didn't get us both smiling.

Lately, I've really been craving a picture of us together both smiling. Now that she looks more like me, I want to see it for myself- what do we look like together?

We went out to dinner but my daughter slept through the whole thing.

Then I went home.

The visit felt so short, but it's so nice to have things feel so natural.

Visit Today

I'll be leaving in about an hour to see my daughter.

Thanks to all for the kind words. If you emailed, I will get back to you. Like Deanna, the last few days drained me a bit. That and schoolwork and responsibilities have taken priority in my brain.

Many have said that this week was at least productive. I hope it is so.

Today I am just going to enjoy my role and enjoy my daughter.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More Happy Birthmothers

So I log into my email this morning to discover that I have a whole bunch of comments. I was a little scared. I've thankfully never had to deal with comment bickering and I confess that I don't think I have the emotional capacity yet to respond appropriately to the kind of attacks I sometimes see on other blogs. I love the front porch idea that I think I saw a long while back on Stacy's blog - the idea that rants belong on one's own blog and that when you visit other people's blogs, you respect their beliefs and stuff. So I entered with caution and was happy to see that everyone was playing nice. And kim.kim, I've done some personal emailing because I definitely don't want to attack someone and I feel very strongly about the fact that birthparents and adoptive parents should be partners, not enemies.

Yesterday's post was all about getting some stuff off my chest and of course after all the comments and posts all over blogland, I feel the need to expand my thoughts.

I need to start by talking about grief. We, as a society, don't do well with grief. Someone dies and we're all left wondering what to say to their loved ones: do they want to be alone? Are we going to offend them? Is it okay to mention the person who passed? and so on. There are countless stories of widows or grieving parents who suddenly found themselves alone because no one knew how to be around them. It's hard to know what to say or do and let's face it, it's much easier to be around someone who isn't grieving. Pushing away the grief is pretty normal and it's all complicated by the fact that it may resurface later, after the griever is supposed to be all better.

Then you have adoption grief which is much more complicated because the loss is hard to define (there's a great book called Ambiguous Loss that addresses this stuff). And really, adoption is supposed to be happy. It solves problems. Really wonderful adoptions are even harder because they really are wonderful- so how can there be grief? I liked what speakingformyself said over at Dawn's blog- the grief is normal. It's not about what someone did or didn't do. It isn't a reflection on the adoption situation itself. It isn't about how well everyone gets along or how much support they have. Grief is a natural reaction to adoption- for all the players. Something was lost.

It also doesn't matter that people go on to live their lives and to enjoy them. They are still going to have moments of grief. In all scenarios, it may be a smell or a song or a comment but whatever it is, it brings it back- maybe only for a moment, maybe for weeks- but it's always there.

The idea of grief and regret comes up again and again for birthmothers. There is the pressure not to feel grief. There is the pressure to minimize your grief when faced with a birthparent whose story is so much worse. There is the pressure to feel constant grief. And the same applies to regret. We really could go in circles on these issues. I prefer to acknowledge that they are both natural reactions but that they are mostly fluid, not constant. Still, they are natural reactions, well-documented.

I have to make a brief note about exceptions. I think that when it comes to negative stuff, we all have a tendency to say that it's different for us. Nobody wants to have negative experiences. I believe that most of the time, things are pretty much going to go the way countless research and personal stories say they are going to go, but nothing is 100%. That's what makes the world so special. That's what makes people leap right in to follow their dreams, pursue a new love, take on a new challenge. And it works all the time. Additionally, we all know that every story is unique, that every life takes it's own path, that every person reacts differently. Yet there are patterns and trends that show up everywhere- that provide direction and comfort to those who may have felt they were alone in the world. Loss is that overwhelming trend in adoption- though it varies in how it takes form. You just can't argue with that. It doesn't mean that people don't have different experiences- it doesn't mean that there is one story for everyone- it doesn't mean it's 100%- it does mean that in the vast majority of adoption studies and stories, loss is the central theme. It is normal to feel that loss. It is normal to feel grief.

(As an aside, some researchers now believe that adopted people were over diagnosed and overrepresented in psychiatric populations because nobody recognized that they were in the
natural and common process of grieving and so didn't treat these kids like they were grieving.)

I guess we still have a long way to go in acknowledging that grief is normal.

I need also to share with you how I appear to the outside world and to my friends and family right now.

My life is terrific right now. I'm living on my own, having finally left a miserable relationship. I just started my Master's, a task I was working on when I found out I was pregnant and had since put on hold. My job has really taken off. My school has sent me to national conferences and the principal has really gone out of his way to acknowledge that I'm an asset to the school. I'm also getting some experience toward what I hope will be my future career. I've reconnected with some old friends and find that my social life is more active now than it has ever been. I've grown my hair back out and have lost just enough weight to start to feel attractive again so I'm taking better care of myself and making more of an effort in my appearance. I smile more and laugh more and have started to come out of my shell quite a bit. Those closest to me have said they've never seen me so happy.

My adoption situation has become quite the model for successful open adoptions. My daughter is absolutely thriving- enough that even my mother can't get over how happy and carefree and well-adjusted she is. My relationship with her parents is wonderful. We are truly friends and I find them trying to make plans with me more and more often. When I'm with the extended family, I absolutely feel like a part of the family- it is just like being with my own extended family and in some ways is better. My daughter and I have also developed a very positive relationship. Truly it is wonderful. I absolutely couldn't have asked for it to be any better.

Really, I am one of those happy birthmothers. This is exactly what I wanted for my daughter and there are some very personal reasons for my choice that reinforce that I did the right thing. I am doing very well and my adoption situation is going very well.

But I still grieve and I still feel loss.
So does my daughter. Sometimes it is unexpected. Sometimes I know something will be a trigger. Sometimes, I choke back the tears, other days I give in and just cry and cry over the fact that I'm not parenting- that my daughter, my own flesh and blood, isn't with me. As I see her start to look more and more like me, I stop and wonder how she would have turned out had she stayed with me. Some days I feel phantom kicks or an ache in my arms as I long to feel her close to me. I look at other little kids and I feel the loss of my own child. When I got home from school Sunday night and thought about how so much of teacher training also applies to being a good parent, I wondered aloud if given that education, I would have felt like I could have parented her- in that moment, I felt regret.

The fact that I am doing well and that I'm satisfied with my situation doesn't mean I don't feel grief just as feeling grief doesn't mean that one can't have moments of joy or still go on to accomplish great things.

And for the record, there is only one person in my life who would be able to say that I still grieve and that I still have bad days. Every other person in my life would say that I'm doing great, never happier, or that I've "moved on" or gotten over it. I know for a fact that my daughter's mom was relieved that I started my Master's. While I can only speculate about what's going on in her head, I think a large part of it gives her comfort that I wasn't forever damaged by my choice- that I'm back on the path I was on before I found out I was pregnant.

I've already gone on and on, but I do want to take a moment to tell you about where I used to be in regard to adoption. Because I don't mean to judge those who are still learning. I was once still learning, too. I think a lot of the folks who often come off as harsh or even close-minded are really people who learned from their own mistakes and truly want to spare others some of that pain.

I believed that all adoptees were doomed to have severe psychological problems.

I thought that all birthmothers were young and irresponsible and probably drug users (I thought I was the exception, not the norm).

I thought open adoption was weird and that it would be confusing for the child.

I thought that visits and contact were about pleasing me, not about what was good for the child.

I thought that my responsibility was to walk away and let them be a family.

I thought it was horrible of me not to give my child to a couple that really wanted a child because it wasn't fair that I got pregnant so easily and didn't even want to be pregnant. I owed them.

I didn't think I deserved to be called a mother.

I didn't even consider parenting.

I thought the adoptive parents had a right to watch their child being born and made sure to arrange for them to have their own room on the maternity ward so they could room in with the baby.

I didn't think I had the right to call her my child.

I didn't think I would feel like a mother.

I thought that because I really didn't want to be a parent, it wouldn't hurt so much.

And I had absolutely no idea how much adoption would change me and my life or how much it would affect every single person I come in contact with for the rest of my life and possibly for generations.

It was only by listening to some people who had been there that I was able to make some choices during my pregnancy that I'm incredibly grateful for even if I was resistant at the time. And since then I've lived it and researched it and gotten to know other people touched by adoption. As a result, I've built some pretty strong opinions on the topic and sometimes, I just need to speak.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Denial

Update: Hello to everyone who has never visited before! This post is a rant which means it's pretty angry. And I'm pretty opinionated. I'm sort of getting bothered by the fact that people might read just this one post and think it sums me up or that I always go visit people's blogs and dissect their personal adoption story. I don't. Usually I just use this blog to write about my own adoption story along with the occasional general adoption talk. I was pretty hurt and angry when I wrote this. But anyway, after you read this entry, please know that I wrote a follow-up that is far less harsh and much more coherent and if you click on my blog title you can read that.

Fair Warning: This post is unlikely to be coherent or organized or anything else.

I'm coming to hang out on my own front porch so that I can resist the temptation to get rude on someone else's. My apologies to Kateri for starting to do my business on her front porch.

I need to start by saying that a woman who detaches from her pregnancy, who asks potential aparents to call the unborn child "their son", who wants to be moved off the maternity ward after birth and gets mad when the nurses ask her what she wants, who has had two kids and two abortions prior to this additional pregnancy and before the age of 22, and who regularly gets into almost or actual fistfights is not only not a typical birthmother but is also not one who is really in a place to acknowledge or deal with adoption.

I will also say that a woman who embraces this detachment, who refers to any genetic roots and family as DNA, who acknowledges how a hubby is family but totally can't see how a birthfamily is family, who thinks visits will make her a glorified babysitter, who thinks it is up to the child to express a desire for contact, who is more concerned with the pain of hopeful aparents than that of actual birthparents, and who emphasizes that the mommy is the one who kisses boo-boos and changes diapers etc., is probably unlikely to be able to speak sensitively to birthparents.

What I can't figure out is why anyone in this situation would feel the need to comment on a thread on a birthmother's blog about insults to birthmothers with a note about how not all birthparents see their child's adoption as a loss. Or why, when I pointed out that few would describe me as unhappy in my day-to-day life but that I still grieve for my daughter makes me someone who is trying to push my own experience on others.

The thing is, like most of the birthmoms in the blogosphere, I've read an awful lot about adoption.

The birthmother described above sends up hundreds of red flags. So does the adoptive mom.

Still, I'm going to assume that their relationship is working for them and that they will be able to continue these satisfied feelings and hang on to their beliefs for the rest of their lives. People do that. In fact it happens all the time.

And I'm going to acknowledge that there are adoptees like the ones that show up to speak in this woman's comments who think open adoption is disgusting or who have no desire to contact their birthfamilies. I will even refrain from saying that I think those folks probably haven't worked through their adoption reality yet.

I am going to suggest that adult adoptees from the closed era may not be the best sources for whether or not open adoption is confusing to children and that there are plenty of sources that talk about what it's like for the children of open adoption. I'm also going to suggest that this woman take some of her own advice and not take a few people's opinions as the gold standard of how it works and how people feel.

I'm also going to suggest that both these moms do some research just in case the little child they both love so much doesn't quite fit into their picture-perfect scenario.

Because loss is the central theme in adoption: for all three triad members. And someday it may catch up with them. Especially that child who may not want to hear their version of his story: that birthmom didn't want him and that she never felt bad about placing him and that his adoptive mom preferred to deny him access to his birthfamily rather than allowing them to be a natural part of his life so he could have seen firsthand who he looked like and that he was placed because he was loved, not because he was some kind of burden.

And those of us who spoke up- it's because we worry about the day when it all sinks in.

Oh and there are some studies that suggest that woman don't really deal with the placement of their children until 5-7 years after the child's birth.

And all those anti-adoption folks? They feel strongly, not just because of their experiences, but because of the countless research showing how traumatic adoption is to the participants. Most of the literature says it's worse than losing a parent or child through death and that it's lifelong and far-reaching.

And one other thing, I know there is a lingering question about whether there are no (or few) happy birthmoms in the blogosphere because they don't feel the need to blog. I don't really want to deny that these birthmoms exist, I just want to say that the research supports the fact that adoption is traumatic for everyone and that denial (and the sheer trauma of the experience) often causes birthmothers not to really deal with the truth of placement. That and the fact that it's so incredibly hard to admit that you're a birthmother even on an anonymous blog.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Presentation

Topic: The Impact of Adoption on Adolescent Development

Audience: Thirteen Master's of Education students and one professor currently in a course on adolescent development

Assignment: 10-15 page research paper outlining how my topic affects adolescents with a section on the implications for educators; research findings will be presented to the class; presentation should be 15-20 minutes long

I'm not sure what prompted me to choose adoption. It wasn't on the professor's suggested topic list. There are other topics that interest me and that I know a lot about. I did want something I already knew about because when we chose our topics, I hadn't finished my research paper for the previous class and like everyone else was feeling a little burnt out. I know that part of my thinking included the fact that I already own and have read a bunch of books about adoption. It is a topic I don't think educators are informed about. I do hate all the myths. I do have a daughter who is getting older. So I guess that's why.

A part of me feels like I don't have a right to speak for those who were adopted- as if I shouldn't be trying to speak for what they go through. I thought about that last night. I think a big part is the fact that I'm a birthmother- I am the one who made the choice that caused the pain so who am I to say what that pain entails. I thought about adoptive parents and about how the great ones educate themselves about what adoptees experience because that's what parents of children who were adopted/have a disease/have a learning disability/are doing drugs do. They read about the issue the child is facing so they can help them through it. When I considered it like that, I felt a little better. After all, I want to understand my daughter, too. And I am glad when a non-birthparent tries to learn about being a birthparent. It means they want to feel closer to me.

I've never really looked at adolescence and adoption. Sure I've read stuff. I already had a lot of ideas. But when I've read about adoption I've been focused on babies and toddlers and birthmoms and open adoption. My daughter is young. I wasn't really focusing on later. It was interesting to focus on that- to revisit old favorites with a new focus in mind and to read new sources that I wouldn't have looked at otherwise.

I learned a lot and found some evidence to reinforce things I already believed. I could have written 100 pages but I ended up with 14 including a middle that is somewhat jumbled in an attempt to share everything. In the end, I wondered if I relied too much on my sources. I was afraid to make my own statements for fear that they came from some source that I wasn't identifying- beliefs borne out of countless hours spent reading books and articles and websites and blogs. So my final paper is somewhat clinical and pointed rather than emotional the way adoption talk often is.

I thought a lot about that presentation and about the things I wanted to do, but in the end, I prepared nothing- no handouts, no resource list, not even an outline of what I planned to say. We did have to provide an annotated bibliography, but that was all I provided. I'm tempted to create more as a followup as I keep thinking of things I wish I'd said.

I was third to present- right before lunch. I was hoping to be after lunch so I could smoke seven thousand cigarettes before the moment of truth. All weekend I debated whether or not to tell: "I chose this topic because I am a birthmother...." We stay with the same classmates for two years. They are all really wonderful. If I'm going to tell this would be the time to do it. In the end, I chose not to. I justified it by saying that I am still educating and breaking the myths. I don't need to make myself vulnerable by doing it. Yet, other than one other person, every other classmate gave their personal reason for choosing their topic (I started working early; I was a teen parent; my daughter has ADHD; gangs are a problem in my city). I told them I chose adoption because I didn't think people knew enough about it.

During my research, I decided to see what our textbook said about adoption. In fact, I checked all three of our required texts. Our main textbook is your typical, fat, information-filled book. There was no mention of adoption in the entire text. We had to read two books about kids' personal stories. One of the books had about 100 stories. Not one was about adoption. Last night I thought about my own teacher training. The closest thing I got to information about adoption was an ADHD expert who perpetuated the myth that adoptees are doomed and that women who are planning adoption don't take care of themselves during their pregnancies which is why the kids are doomed. I was horrified. Besides being a teacher educator, he was an adoptive parent. He was all about protecting his kids from their birthfamilies. But I digress.

I know people are ignorant about adoption. Go check out Wraith's experience or Nicole's. People still don't know. To be fair, I didn't know until I got pregnant and started thinking about adoption for my own baby. Educators can't afford to be ignorant. Some of my research indicated that school is the most difficult place for kids to deal with their adoptions- largely due to the ignorance about adoption. Suddenly there are a whole bunch of people who have to accept and be sensitive to that part of a child's identity and in large part , these folks (kids and teachers) don't have a clue about adoption or how to talk about it.

I stood in front of my peers with that in mind and with the additional knowledge that one of them may be touched by adoption and that I needed to be conscious of that while I spoke.

I read or heard about an experience someone had where they asked a crowd about which triad members they knew. While it was unnecessary for my presentation, I was curious so I opened with that. I got the same results.

"How many of you know an adoptive parent?" Everybody.

"How many of you know someone who was adopted?" Everybody (maybe one that didn't.)

"How many of you know a birthparent?" The professor (which was a given because she's a social worker) and one student (who I've been feeling knows about me).

A part of me wanted to laugh or tell them they could all raise their hands, but I just filed it away in the "Yeah, it's really true." category and got back to my real focus.

I asked if anyone knew any myths or truths surrounding adoption and as an example shared that I knew adopted persons were overrepresented in residential treatment and once believed all adoptees were doomed.

Someone shared the "adoption is glorious" myth. Someone else shared that she knows adoptive parents in an open (not really) adoption whose four year old had some issues that the psychologist attributed to grief and how surprised she was at that.

I used her comment to share the limitations in adoption research and the changing face of adoption including definitions of the different types. Later I caught up with her to share that there is research suggesting that the grief shows up in infants. She was surprised.

And then I spoke. About how loss is at the center of adoption. About how the loss isn't recognized. About the varying opinions on whether adopted persons really are doomed. About how difficult it is to reach identity development when there are two families to consider. About birthfamily fantasies. A random comment about rejection and abandonment which raised some eyebrows. About the importance of sensitive language. About the terribleness of family trees. About the perpetuation of stereotypes. About the language again. And then my time was up.

My voice was dry throughout. Twice it cracked as I tried not to be emotional.

Two people spoke. One shared a story about commenting to two kids that they looked alike and being told they were adopted. She later asked about adoptions from China, wondering what that is like for the child. ?I stumbled but mostly said I didn't know- that I did know it is harder for those adopted into families of different cultures. The other who spoke asked about open adoption- isn't it confusing? I was glad it came up. He accepted my response. The teacher reiterated my point that so much of the research is new and that so much has yet to be researched and that the culture of secrecy has really stood in the way of research. And so I spoke briefly about secrecy and the need for educators to get informed about adoption so that they will feel comfortable dealing with it openly so that these kids won't feel different or unnatural or that adoption is something to hide.

And then we left for lunch. Several people said how well I did and how interesting it was, but no one asked for more information.

All day I thought of everything I left out. I don't feel like I got across the fact that these issues affect all adoptions, not just the negative ones. I wished I had made a handout. I thought about volunteering to go into schools to educate teachers. Mostly I wondered if people really would educate themselves or if I had really made a dent. I think I did make a dent, but I do know that I'm not likely to pursue additional reading on any of the other presentation topics so I doubt anyone will pursue it for mine. We are swamped with work already. And so I am even more inclined to create a handout.

Still it was okay. I couldn't get it off my mind and I was relieved when the friend I spent my evening with actually asked me questions about it all because I was able to get it off my chest and to share with him all the things I wanted to share with my classmates.

And in the end, I feel like I did my part to open some minds while maintaining my privacy so that is comforting.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I Presented Today

I know I briefly mentioned that I was doing a paper on adoption and adolescence and I swear I will write about that eventually, but today I had to present on it to my class.

It was hard.

Really hard.

I didn't share my connection to adoption.

A couple times I felt myself getting choked up.

But I got through.

And the class seemed receptive.

I'll share more later.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I'm Still Here

I'm trying to write my paper. The stereotypes are frustrating, but revisiting some of my favorite reads is nice, though distracting.

I'm worried about citing my sources properly because I could probably write the paper without sources just based on all the reading I've done in the last four years.

One more week until I see my daughter.

I finally ordered some pictures for her birthfather and the last six months or so worth for myself. With all the stress at home, I hadn't done it so I'll be glad to get those.

Hope you are all well.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Talking About My Daughter

Attending the Lifegiver's Festival last summer was very inspiring. It made me want to talk about my daughter more openly.

It didn't really last though. It was always uncomfortable talking about her with my fiance and his family and so I rarely brought her up.

Over the course of the year, I have told a few more of the regulars in my life and as you know, I moved out on my own.

These days, everyone I spend time with knows about my daughter. I can't begin to tell you how liberating it is.

I no longer get that ache in my stomach when I want to mention her. I talk about her with a smile on my face and as often as I want. It feels natural. For the first time, it feels natural to talk about my daughter.

I have a new friend who stops everytime he catches a glimpse of one of her pictures (I keep a bunch in my purse) and pulls it out to look at. Everytime, he stares at the picture and says how much she looks like me- that she stole my smile. And it feels nice to have it acknowledged and appreciated and normal.

It also feels nice that all of these people also allow me to talk about the loss and none of them try to make me feel bad for grieving or tell me how lucky I am or do any of those things that make me cringe. Instead I am allowed to miss her and to celebrate her.

Finally.

Links Fixed

I finally fixed my links so that all the folks who moved to wordpress are properly linked. I didn't add any new ones yet. I know there are some folks who stopped blogging and then started up again and plenty more that I read and need to link to. I'll try to get to that next.

I usually just head to FauxClaud's page and visit everyone from there.

So anyway, bear with me while I work on that. I do love all of you out there.

Wishes Do Come True

I really wanted to see my daughter before her birthday. I figured there was no chance because her birthday is in a month and I have school one of those weekends.

Her mom emailed me yesterday inviting me to come in two weeks. Yay! So I'm going. I'm so happy.

I see my daughter a lot in the fall, but all of those visits are with other people (birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmastime) so it'll be really nice to get another solo visit in before the fall.

I miss her so much.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Thankfully

I have been in rough shape. It's been awhile since I talked to my daughter and I've been missing her. Sunday night I called but got an answering machine. It really bummed me out.

Last night I had a little meltdown. There were other reasons, but missing her was a big part of it.

They called tonight, but I missed the call because I was out with my grandparents. It was 8:45 when I left and I wasn't sure if I should call, but I did. I'm so glad.

My daughter was crying when I called because she missed me.

She didn't say it at first. She asked when I was coming to visit. I told her I was coming to her birthday party. She asked me to bring her a power ranger, transformers, and a batman with batmobile. She told me all about what she's been doing- how they got rained out of the beach and that maybe the rain came because they were there.

Then she told me that she was crying when I called. I asked why and she said she was missing me. I told her I've been missing her, too and she wanted to know how much. Once I told her she happily said goodbye.

I so needed to talk to her and it was so nice to share that moment with her. I do miss her so.